Study: Bird Brains Similar To Human Brains

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File photo of a lab technician.  (credit: NOAH SEELAM/AFP/Getty Images)

File photo of a lab technician. (credit: NOAH SEELAM/AFP/Getty Images)

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CHEVY CHASE, Md. (CBSDC) – According to a recent study by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, the brains of all vertebrates – including mammals, birds, and reptiles – have important similarities.

Researchers looked at the brains of eight species of birds for over 10 years.

“If you really look at the behavior complexity of different bird species, they can display quite simple to very complex behaviors that you can find in any mammal,” lead investigator Erich Jarvis told The Chronicle.

The researchers compared 52 genes across 23 areas of bird brains.

“One of the challenges we’ve had using bird brains to understand brain function overall is that it’s hard to translate discoveries in birds to other species, including mammals and humans,” Jarvis added.

Researchers were able to make another breakthrough. They discovered that a void – known as the ventricle – exists between two groups of cells does not as a barrier. Instead, the two cell groups divide and flow around the ventricle while multiplying.

Jarvis and his team studied bird brains over various environmental factors.

“We’re looking at combinations of genes and the reason why we think we were able to get further than other studies in the past is because they were only doing one or two genes and we had decided that wasn’t enough evidence,” Jarvis went on to say.

The study was published in the Journal of Comparative Neurology.

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